Was Prince Philip jealous of Charles? Duke of Edinburgh felt he 'lost' mentor Lord Mountbatten to eldest son
Prince Charles has always spoken in public in the fondest of terms about his father, Prince Philip, who passed away on April 9 at the age of 99. But their relationship while he was growing up was contentious with reports of jealousy and bullying between the two.
Prince Philip's reported neglect of his son began as early as Prince Charles' birth. Despite it being the momentous birth of the heir, Prince Philip was not in attendance and was out playing squash instead. On seeing his son for the first time, Philip reportedly declared that his son looked ‘like a plum pudding’.
According to Ingrid Seward, a royal biographer and author of the book, 'Prince Philip Revealed,' the Duke of Edinburgh did not spend much time with his son growing up, leaving Charles largely bereft of parental love and placed firmly in the care of the royal nannies.
Charles closer to grandmother than father
Charles was an introvert when he was growing up and gravitated more towards the arts than sports. This reportedly disappointed Philip, who pushed Charles to be less sensitive about things and tried to toughen him up. As a result, Prince Charles developed a closer bond with his grandmother, Elizabeth, who was also known as Queen Mother.
By all reports, Prince Charles was a sensitive child, while Prince Philip sought to raise a child in his own image. "A resilient character such as Philip, who sees being tough as a necessity for survival, wants to toughen up his son and his son is very sensitive," Lady Edwina Mountbatten had told Seward as reported by the Daily Mail at the time. Prince Philip was reportedly a lot closer with his remaining children, Anne, Edward, and Andrew, who received a lot of the parental love that Prince Charles was deprived of.
Lord Mountbatten's role in feud between Philip and Charles
As the hit Netflix series, 'The Crown' depicted, Lord Mountbatten was a formidable figure, who exerted a strong influence over the Windsors. He had strong family ties to the family, being the maternal uncle of Prince Philip and a second cousin once removed of Queen Elizabeth II,
He especially became close to Prince Philip and later on, his eldest son, which in turn reportedly caused Philip to resent Charles. Mountbatten helped raise the Duke of Edinburgh after his parents separated, with Philip's father living in Monaco and his mother in first a Swiss sanatorium, and then in Greece. Philip considered him to be almost his father figure. However, the dynamic of their relationship changed after Mountbatten started enjoying a close 'honorary grandfather' role in the life of the Prince of Wales, his great-nephew. The change in dynamic caused tensions in the family, with Philip feeling he 'lost' Mountbatten to Charles, especially since Charles did not need to go looking for a father figure when he already had one.
Mountbatten was assassinated by the IRA in 1979. In 2015, while on a visit to the site of Mountbatten's death, Prince Charles referenced the closeness of their relationship in his speech, saying: "I could not imagine how we would come to terms with the anguish of such a deep loss since, for me, Lord Mountbatten represented the grandfather I never had."
Was Prince Philip a bully?
In the 2001 book, 'Diana: Story of a Princess,' royal expert Penny Junor told author Tim Clayton that Philip was sometimes too tough on Charles and came across as a bully. As a result, Prince Charles suffered from self-esteem issues and always felt like he was disappointing his father.
“Prince Philip is bluff, outspoken, hearty, tough and something of a bully,” Junor shared, “and he has no patience with his eldest son’s soul-searching. Sensitivity is not one of the qualities he expects in a man, and although he undoubtedly has great affection for Prince Charles, he has spent a lifetime criticizing him and quietly undermining his self-esteem.”
Seward interviewed Eileen Parker, the ex-wife of one of Philip's closest friends Mike Parker, who said: "Philip tolerated Charles but he wasn’t a loving father. I think Charles was frightened of him. He became very quiet when Philip was around."